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Women in Aviation and Logistics (WAL) has launched its mentorship scheme, matching 27 industry leaders, comprising 16 women and 11 men, with aspiring female professionals.

Mentors and mentees taking part in the scheme come from different parts of the supply chain, including airlines, forwarders, tech and drone companies, airports and associations.

“We have received encouraging feedback from mentors and mentees who have already started their journey on the programme,” said Emma Murray, chief executive of Meantime Communications, and co-founder of WAL.

“Once we have our first wave completed, we will review and have every confidence that we will be able to set up a second wave in the autumn with a view to establishing a rolling mentorship scheme.”

The mentorship programme is designed to grow and empower female professionals who will be the future heads of cargo companies and board members.

“I am delighted to be part of the WAL initiative and I hope that my experience of the air cargo industry will be helpful in ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity of succeeding in what is a vitally important global service,” said Tristan Koch, chief commercial officer, Awery, and WAL mentor.

“I was fortunate to be one of the inaugural mentors on the American Airlines’ mentorship programme promoting female development throughout the company.

“I saw the incredible success stories that emanated from that and am keen to take that to the wider industry.

“As a father of two daughters, I also see it as a good investment!”

Each mentorship is tailored to the individual’s needs by the WAL team, consisting of consultancy Change Horizon and Meantime Communications.

“The mentoring programme and database of speakers are concrete steps that can change the tone of the entire industry,” said Megha Palkar, assistant manager, Cargo iQ, and WAL mentee.

“I am looking forward to learning from the experience of ‘people that made it’ and making air cargo a more innovative and equitable space for all.”

The mentorship is one of a number of initiatives launched by WAL since March 2021, including a database of female experts willing to speak at events and join boardrooms, launching an industry pledge to encourage commitment to gender diversity, and monitoring gender balance at online and in-person events.

“This year we want to double the number of female experts on our database from 43 to 86,” said Céline Hourcade, managing director, Change Horizon, and co-founder, WAL.

“We are encouraged as at least eight organisations have started to use the database and improved the gender diversity at their events, on their boards, and in their articles.

“We now need more women covering all areas of expertise, to give no excuse to all-male line ups at events.

“The average [number of speakers at events] for 2021 was 16% women; we want to meet an average of 25% this year.”

The WAL movement is also calling for event organisers to start monitoring and reporting on their gender balance.

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